PAIN EASED WITH FIRST HOME WIN

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Stu­art Ball

IF DA­GEN­HAM & Red­bridge were to be rel­e­gated out of the Foot­ball League, few would hurt more than John Still, but the Dag­gers boss is hop­ing their first home win of the sea­son over rel­e­ga­tion ri­vals York City will reignite their sur­vive chal­lenge.

De­feat to the side se­cond from bot­tom would have left Da­gen­ham ten points from safety and eight below York.

But Josh Pass­ley’s 78th-minute goal handed the Dag­gers their first home win of the cam­paign at the 20th time of ask­ing and their first vic­tory in ten matches in all com­pe­ti­tions.

Da­gen­ham are still seven points from safety, with 22nd-place Hartle­pool hav­ing two games in hand on the base­ment club, but Satur­day’s much-needed vic­tory is a timely con­fi­dence boost.

“I’m a sup­porter of this club so noth­ing gives me more plea­sure than see­ing us win a game – not just win­ning as a man­ager but as a sup­porter,” said Still, who re­placed Wayne Bur­nett at the Chig­well Con­struc­tion Sta­dium in late De­cem­ber and has worked for the club for more than a decade dur­ing sev­eral spells.

“This is a spe­cial club be­cause it’s very close-knit and we haven’t got thou­sands of sup­port­ers but lots of th­ese peo­ple have been here for life.

“Whether you sup­port Manch­ester United or Da­gen­ham & Red­bridge, your team is your team and when you’re not win­ning it’s dif­fi­cult but we’ve given the fans some­thing here.

“The last four or five games I’ve seen us im­prove and it was just that lit­tle bit of be­lief we needed.

“I thought we fully de­served to win and it was an im­por­tant win that will hope­fully give us that bit of be­lief.

“We’ve got a lot of tough games to go but you’re al­most bet­ter play­ing those games be­cause you’ve got to be up for those games.”

Nei­ther side boast an ar­ray of goals in their arse­nal and were hes­i­tant in push­ing men for­ward early on. York thought they should have had a penalty when Dave Winfield fell un­der pres­sure in the box from Do­minic Hyam but the ref­eree waved away protests.

Goal mouth ac­tion was scarce but Scott Flin­ders had to be alert just af­ter the half hour mark to bat away an ef­fort from Ash­ley Hem­mings.

Chris­tian Doidge had an ex­cel­lent chance in first-half stop­page time to head his side in front but sent it wide.

The game swung in Da­gen­ham’s favour just be­fore the hour when Rus­sell Penn was shown a straight red for han­dling Doidge’s goal­bound header.

Joss Labadie stepped up to take the re­sult­ing penalty but Flin­ders guessed cor­rectly and saved.

Doidge was prov­ing a men­ace and mo­ments later at­tacked a cor­ner well, only to see his header bounce off the upright.

Da­gen­ham were dom­i­nat­ing and the break­through even­tu­ally came with 12 min­utes re­main­ing when Hem­mings crossed to Pass­ley and he fin­ished with aplomb into the bot­tom right cor­ner.

York boss Jackie McNa­mara said: “The game-changer hap­pened in the se­cond half when it was a stonewall free-kick on Scott Flin­ders when he was first to the cor­ner but their striker got the header and the ref­eree de­cided it hit Russ on the hand and sent him off.

“There was still too many of us not on their game and not up for a real bat­tle. In the end that was the telling point so.

“I em­pha­sised be­fore the game that they needed to win their oneon-ones and it’s lit­tle things like that make you an­gry as a man­ager. “They have to learn quickly be­cause it is a fight and we are in a bat­tle be­tween now and the end of the sea­son.”

PIC­TURES: TGS Photo

PASS THE LUCK: Da­gen­ham’s Josh Pass­ley is con­grat­u­lated af­ter scor­ing the open­ing goal STAR MAN ASH­LEY HEMMI

NGS Dag&

Red

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